Wind farm work to begin

One of the specialist barges

One of the specialist barges

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CONSTRUCTION work is set to start on a major new offshore wind farm.

EDF Energy Renewables will begin the installation of its 27 turbine Teesside Offshore Windfarm this week on a site off the coast at South Gare, Redcar.

At its peak, more than 100 offshore construction workers will be on site and a project supply base has been established at the Port of Hartlepool.

Transfer of materials for the offshore site will be made by specialist barges and the work undertaken using specialist jack-up vessels.

The wind farm will be located one-mile from the shore at its closest point, just south of the mouth of the River Tees.

When operational, the capacity will be 62MW – enough green energy to power up to 40,000 households and offsetting the annual release of approximately 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Phase 1 of the woek involves installing large diameter steel tubes into the seabed to provide the foundations for the transition pieces which support the turbine towers, hub and blades.

EDF Energy Renewables already operates 20 onshore wind farms around the country, but this will be the company’s first UK offshore project.

Tim Bland, project manager for the Teesside scheme, said: “This is an exciting, but very demanding project. An offshore wind farm requires much closer integration of design and construction activities than an onshore wind farm because of the additional challenges of operating at sea and the vagaries of environmental conditions.

“However, we have a very experienced, mainly local, team working on the project, all the necessary permissions and consents are in place and we are liaising closely with all the relevant authorities, including local councils, to ensure that the work proceeds according to plan.”

Foundation works will continue until June and will be marked with temporary navigation warning lights.

These works will then be followed by the more visible ‘above-sea’ installation of transition pieces, turbine towers, hubs and blades.

Full monitoring of construction noise and marine ecology will be maintained during and after the work.

A Fishing Liaison Group has also been set up to ensure that there is no adverse impact on local commercial fishing activity.

The first turbines are planned to be installed in late summer with electricity being generated from the wind farm in early autumn.

A leaflet providing more information on the project is being distributed to local residents and a special information line is available on 0800 0511650 for anyone requiring more details.